De Lima lashes at 'vindictive policy'
SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday said she has long prepared herself to be the first political prisoner under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
De Lima said this was so because the criminal charges filed against her were politically motivated, and aimed at silencing her vocal opposition to the administration’s support of extrajudicial killings in its war on illegal drugs.
“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DoJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’s release is being supported by the Office of the Solicitor General, is the wakeup call that our country needs.”
“Change has, indeed, come, and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality—where right is turned to wrong, and wrong is made right,” she added.
If the loss of her freedom is the price she has to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, De Lima said it is a price she is willing to pay.
“But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” she said.
De Lima said her ordeal was the result of the kind of vindictive politics that she has come to expect from the Duterte administration.
“Despite these fascist methods employed by this fascist regime, we will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for human rights and democracy. In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated,” she said.
On Friday, the Justice department filed criminal charges against her with the regional trial court in Muntinlupa.
She said her lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.
De Lima was accused of receiving drug money from high profile prisoners inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary. She allegedly used the money to bankroll her senatorial bid in the last elections.
In the Palace, the chief presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said De Lima could suffer the same fate that she had consigned former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to when she was still Justice secretary.
“If it’s proven that she was involved in drugs, she will be jailed. Then she can get a taste of what she did to Arroyo,” Panelo said.
At the time, De Lima filed charges against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. While Arroyo was detained for almost five years in a military hospital, the state never proved the case against her, and she was released in July 2016 after the Supreme Court acquitted her on corruption charges.
It was De Lima who initially barred Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011 to seek medical treatment, despite a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.
Panelo said De Lima should welcome the opportunity to prove that she is not guilty.
Also on Friday, De Lima failed to to secure from the Court of Appeals a stay order that would have stopped the Justice department from deciding on the criminal complaints against her.